After a couple of weeks of mostly one-sided games, we’re getting closer to the meat of the SEC schedule in Week 4 with 5 actual conference matchups. Time to get bold, with a bold prediction for each Week 4 SEC game.

Tua sets the Alabama passing record

Last week, Tua Tagovailoa was approaching Bama’s single-game career passing record (484 yards by Scott Hunter in 1969). This week, when a team that averages 382.3 passing yards per game meets a team that gives up 274.7 passing yards per game, you’ll get a lot of passing. Southern Miss likes to throw as well, which will probably get them a couple of scores and stop the clock enough that Tua might go all in on 500 passing yards. We’re predicting a record day.

Vandy hangs around for a half

The Vanderbilt offense could make LSU sweat a little, particularly given the defensive injuries and relative malaise that the Tigers have experienced in the past couple of weeks. Don’t misunderstand, the Tigers will win and might even cover the 24-point spread. But this is a game for a half and will give Coach O something to yell about.

Florida gets right on the ground

Florida’s offense has been very hit and miss through 3 games, but just when it’s looking ugly, here comes the UT defense to help Lamical Perine have a big game. Kyle Trask will be fine, but given UT’s defensive struggles, don’t be surprised if Perine breaks off about 125 yards and 2 scores, with Florida winning by 3 touchdowns.

Cal rallies late

No offense to the Rebels, but it’s not entirely clear why they are favored. Yes, the inherent distrust of West Coast football is as much a Southern thing as sweet tea, tailgating and Nashville hot chicken. Cal has defeated 1 allegedly good team by a point, and 2 pretty bad teams by unimpressive margins. Says here that the Rebels will jump out early and hold a 10-point lead at the break, but that Cal’s ground game will wear them down late. What? You didn’t expect that from a Cal/Ole Miss game, did you? Bears by a field goal in the final minute.

Mond takes over late

Auburn has led a charmed life since the legend of Bo Nix was born in Week 1. Meanwhile, A&M has had injuries and a predictable struggle with Clemson. But the real difference in these teams is the maturity of their leaders. Auburn will take an early lead, and they will blast a hole or two in the Aggies’ defense in the first half and go to the locker room up a touchdown. But playing at home, Kellen Mond is the gunslinger with the late-game answers, and Nix actually looks like (gasp) a freshman. Give us the Aggies by a score, with Mond passing for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Kentucky going with Bowden

Kentucky had a tough loss to Florida last week and now goes to Starkville, where the Wildcats last won in 2008. Kentucky has to do a better job of capitalizing on their offensive opportunities, and Lynn Bowden will have a key role on that front. Look for Bowden to break out with 100 yards between receiving and rushing totals (several Wildcat-formation runs in there), and also to deliver a big special teams play, which will be the difference in a hard-fought game. Kylin Hill will be outstanding for MSU, but special teams provide the difference.

Rountree has a big day

South Carolina will bring a potent offensive attack to Missouri. Frosh QB Ryan Hilinski will outpass Kelly Bryant, but the difference in this game is that Carolina’s run defense won’t be able to stop Larry Rountree in the second half. Rountree is good for 150 rushing yards and 2 scores, and Mizzou wins a 45-31 kind of game.

Trey Knox gets his

Arkansas should have an easy time with San Jose State, which is a good thing for freshman wide receiver Trey Knox. He has emerged as a key component in the offense in the past 2 weeks, and the Spartans will have nobody who can cover the 6-5 wideout. Look for Knox to nab his first career 100-yard game and a pair of touchdowns as Arkansas rolls.

Georgia runs for 400

Yes, against Notre Dame. The Irish allow 230.5 yards per game on the ground, and that was against Louisville and New Mexico. Meanwhile, Georgia averages 286.7 yards per game on the ground. Jake Fromm will make some plays early, but getting 7, 8, or 9 yards per carry will be too much to keep the Bulldogs from just running, running, running. The Bulldogs roll in this game, a 45-14 type of matchup, and rush for 400 yards. Rudy cries, the leprechaun gets bitten by Uga, and somewhere out there, Lou Holtz is very upset.